We Discuss #9: Recommended Reads


We Discuss #9: Recommended Reads

by Dwiputri Pertiwi


Here is a list of recommended reads for next week’s Fantastic Film Feast discussion:

1. Southeast Asian Films with Apichatpong Weerasethakul

“For me, story is secondary to feelings, and when you try to explain so much you are losing the beauty and locality. When you travel abroad there will be many things you cannot understand. I don’t need to explain that, it is the beauty of differences, accept it for what it is. Film is not a textbook; it is a different form of expression.

If you really want to reach a wide international audience, then what kind audience? Because there are so many. Do you want to be a textbook and make everything clear? It depends. For me, I prefer to make the film as much as I want to understand.”

2. Film Craftmanship with Mouly Surya

“In my opinion, even though it won’t apply to everyone, I am not talking about feeding the students with bulky theoretical thoughts but there are conventions in filmmaking that  people should understand before they start filmmaking. A degree of knowledge has to be learnt to understand a film within the first five minutes of its inception. Think of it as a language. I see film as a language to communicate. Filmmakers need to understand this visual language.

I don’t believe in an instinctive filmmaker, moreover I don’t believe in talent. There is basic knowledge about filmmaking that people need to acquire if they are truly interested in their craft.”

3. The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema by Martin Scorcese

“Now we take reading and writing for granted but the same kinds of questions are coming up around moving images: Are they harming us? Are they causing us to abandon written language?

We’re face to face with images all the time in a way that we never have been before. And that’s why I believe we need to stress visual literacy in our schools. Young people need to understand that not all images are there to be consumed like fast food and then forgotten – we need to educate them to understand the difference between moving images that engage their humanity and their intelligence, and moving images that are just selling them something.”

4. Film as Film by Malcolm Thorndike Nicholson

“I do not mean to suggest that the critics above are not thoughtful or knowledgeable enough about film as an art. Yet the aspects of filmmaking these critics are ignoring are hardly peripheral. They are as crucial to the effect of a movie as brushstrokes and pigment are to a painting. And remembering the question we began with – in the digital age what is left for a critic to supply? – it makes their absence all the more relevant.

It doesn’t follow that critics should suddenly ignore narrative and character development and spend 500 words analyzing camera technique; that would be fatally boring, as well as alienating. But reviewing films as if they are stories that merely happen to be told using a camera can often miss the point. Most importantly, the sort of writing we currently lack can, and has, been done successfully before.”

5. Towards a New Film Criticism by Willie Osterweil

“Entertainment reinforces the narcissistic myth of the consumer as master of his own experience: In the movies, a protagonist always wins by making the right choices or loses by making the wrong ones. The important thing isn’t success or failure, tragedy or comedy, it’s the protagonist’s individual responsibility: If he’s crushed, it’s because he picked a fight with an enemy too powerful to overcome. If he finds love, success, and happiness, it’s because he did the right things starting from a level playing field where anyone can succeed. But the individual’s actions provide cover for the systematic processes of alienation and exploitation.

By focusing on the film-historical context—the aesthetic idiosyncrasies of an individual film or its connections to other films by genre, crew, or cast—film criticism fails to see the intentions and desires of the film industry, the only active subject in major cinema. In doing so, film criticism colludes with the entertainment industry’s massive project of commodifying experience. By treating entertainment products as a mirror of social experience, film criticism legitimates capitalist alienation while cheapening the possibilities of art. The point is not, however, to become silent. A new film criticism must emerge: By evaluating a film’s methods of production, its place in the film current, and its similarities to concurrently released films on top of its individual contents, film criticism can understand the multiplex’s true ideological effects and reveal new avenues of cinematic pleasure.”


Event time and location:


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

7–9 pm


Kinokuniya Plaza Senayan
(near the language section)
Jl. Asia Afrika 8
Plaza Senayan Lt. 5
Jakarta 10270

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